Even though viewers clearly love medical dramas, both on the small and big screens, I think most of us realize that what happens in our favorite shows doesn’t necessarily (or at all) reflect what life is really like for medical professionals across the board.

I mean, it can’t all be that exciting all the time (or that sexy), right?

If you’re curious just what gets messed up the most, these 15 doctors are sharing the things that happen on television that always make them roll their eyes.

15. Leave it there, my friend.

Do not ever, EVER pull it out. doesn’t matter what “it” is you stabilize it, leave it in because it’s plugging the wound. knife stuck in up to the hilt? leave it in, it’s the most effective way to prevent blood gushing out of the wound.

14. It’s in all the shows, too.

People can’t be reanimated with defibrillators once they’ve flatlined, like it’s always shown in the movies.

If your heart has stopped, only drugs injected in it will kickstart it back.

Defibs are used when your heart is going nuts beating erratically. It will stop your heart for an instant so it can start beating normally again.

13. Those are big words!

The actors pronounce medical terms and drugs incorrectly ALL the time.

12. Just nonsense.

In Bones once, someone carved a barcode thing into bone and when scanned, it uploaded a computer virus. WHAT.

11. We need smell-o-vision…or not.

No medical show can accurately portray the smells. Pus? Yeah, it has a pretty distinctive smell. Clotted blood has its own smell too (most women are probably somewhat familiar with that one). Many people also poop while they’re asleep during surgery, so we have that joy too.

But the worst thing I’ve ever smelled is the combination of old blood, morning breath, and alcohol that accompanies every Friday night in the ER.

10. I think it’s because of child labor laws and such.


My dad always shouts at the screen about medical inaccuracies whenever someone gave birth to a three month old.

9. E tu, Pulp Fiction?

Adrenalin is NOT used in opioid overdoses, and it sure as hell isn’t stabbed directly into the heart.

Death from opiate overdoses generally occurs from respiratory depression (stop breathing) long before your heart stops. Occasionally people will choke on vomit too.

In most cases, first line treatment is an injection of noloxone or naltrexone which act as competitive antagonists at the gamma and kappa opioid receptors. The idea is to ‘dislodge’ (not entirely accurate, but simple to understand) the drug from its active receptor and block it from reattaching.

8. That’s comforting.

Unless it’s a shot to the head, people do not die instantly. Even when blasted right in the heart they have a few horrifying moments to contemplate their doom.

7. No one was buying that, right?

The Dark Knight Rises:

When you are paralysed from the waist down due to cord compression from a several weeks old spine injury, you don’t just magically get your leg function back by just popping the vertebra back into place. By this time the nerve cells will have died.


When you have no cartilage left in your knee, believe me, you won’t be able to climb a flight of stairs, much less scale the wall of that prison in the desert

6. Every single person.

CPR is not two half-hearted, bent-arm pumps to the chest and then a “He’s gone.” Every body (typo and it stays) gets 25 minutes of high-quality CPR with AED when the ambulance arrives anyway, you might as well keep on with it until then.

5. No one wear so many hats.

I love the “training transference” that happens in medical shows (House was a particularly bad offender).

“Ok, Chase, you’re a trained intensivist, so you know how to manage patients in the ICU. Now, go remove that man’s brain tumor. Taub, as a plastic surgeon, you’re the best person on the squad to insert a pacemaker on this very instable patient”.

Similarly, physicians seldom administer most medications themselves – unless its a really risky drug or in a resuscitation scenario, the nurses are the ones hanging the IV’s or giving the pills.

4. Not gonna happen.

I’m not a doctor, I work in physical rehab-

People waking up from long comas with no neurological damage. They just open their eyes and hop right up, raring to go. In reality you would be severely atrophied, most likely have brain damage, and would need months of rehab.

And depending if you’ve been vented that whole time you’d have to relearn how to swallow, talk, walk all that stuff. But that wouldn’t be as interesting

3. You can’t just shake it off.

Stab wounds and lacerations from assaults are significantly more crippling and deadly than any movie I’ve seen.

And most shows never have the person wear the nasal cannula correctly. Drives me nuts.

2. First do no harm.

You never go in just to get the bullet out on a shooting victim. You go in to stop the bleeding and repair the damage, but you only take the bullet out if you happen to come across it. An exception is if the bullet is in a spot where it would cause more damage, or for evidence if the patient will let you do this.

If you take the bullet out like in most movies, you cause more damage than you can prevent. The other thing is most bullets will fragment on impact, so it would be a futile exercise anyway because you would never get all of the fragments out.

1. A small but important detail.

When someone is coding, the monitor is beeping like crazy, and they rip open his shirt to start CPR and place defibrillator pads, there are almost never any leads on the patient which would tell the monitor to start going off in the first place.

I figured out most of these on my own, but some were new!

If you’re a doctor, nurse, etc, tell us what else you would add to this list!